Shadegg on UAE Ports: Security Is Key Issue

Rep. John Shadegg (R.-Ariz.) pointed out in a press release today that more important than worrying about who handles the commerical operations of U.S. ports is the issue of who handles port security. His remarks are posted below:

"The issue of the proposed acquisition of commercial port operations by Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates is not whether it is appropriate or inappropriate to have those facilities controlled by a foreign company. These commercial facilities are already controlled by a British company. The issue is also not whether it is appropriate or inappropriate for these commercial facilities to be owned by a Middle East-based company.

"The security of these ports is not ensured by the commercial operators. The security of these ports is the responsibility of the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. The issue is whether that security is adequate, and the answer is that it is not.

"Transferring control of commercial operations at American ports to a company based in the United Arab Emirates raises questions which Congress should definitely look into.

"We should not, and will not, trust any commercial operator — whether they are based in Dubai, London, or Topeka — with security at our ports.

"The important question is whether the Coast Guard and CBP have the tools they need to protect America."